As of today the Minnesota Vikings have three quarterbacks on their roster. By March 11th that number could be as low as zero. Josh Freeman is an unrestricted free agent this year and unless something completely out of the blue happens, there is no way he is on the Vikings next season. Matt Cassel has until the end of the week to decide whether or not he wants to void his contract and become a free agent. Christian Ponder my very well be out right released by the team, although that is highly unlikely, especially if Cassel does end up voiding his contract. Since there is about a one percent chance of Freeman being on the Vikings next season we won’t look at what he brings to the table.
While not to the same extreme, Ponder has become vilified in much the same was as Tim Tebow. If you look at Ponder’s stats it shows that he is a serviceable quarterback. Can he be a great quarterback that leads a team like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady? NO! Can he be a Brad Johnson or Trent Dilfer type of quarterback? I think so. In 36 games played, Ponder’s completion percentage is 60.2, averaging 6.3 yards per pass attempt. Ponder has thrown 38 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. Not great stats. But when you compare him to a guy like Johnson, they are not far off, and Johnson had a 15 year NFL career and has a Super Bowl ring. Johnson’s career completion percentage is 61.7 and his TD/INT ration was approx. 4/3.
Now let us look at Trent Dilfer. Dilfer played 14 years in the NFL and also won a Super Bowl ring. Dilfer NEVER had a completion percentage over 60 in a season. He also threw more interceptions then touchdowns in his career (129 interceptions, 113 touchdowns).
So the question still remains, can Ponder be the quarterback that this team needs? Whether you like him or not, the answer is yes. The more important question is, can this team, as is presently built, actually win with Christian Ponder at quarterback. In the long term the answer is no, but for a couple years yes.
As long as Matt Cassel does not void his contract it is likely that he is the only quarterback on the team once free agency starts. Whether that is a good thing or not remains to be seen. Cassel had the best stats of the Vikings quarterbacks in 2013 and helped lead them to three wins. Cassel has had two really good seasons in his time as a starter in the NFL, but over the last three seasons he has not played in more than 9 games in a season. And over that time he has throw 30 interceptions and 27 touchdowns.
Cassel is more along the lines of a prototypical NFL quarterback, and the guy that most Vikings fans want to see starting for this team in 2014, at least of the current core. Cassel has an air about him that teammates and fans love and you cannot deny that the team, at times, looked a lot more fluid with him at the helm. Will he continue to be the quarterback of the Vikings? We will know the answer to that by Saturday. He is definitely not the guy to lead them into the next 5 years, but he could be a guy that a rookie could learn behind for a year or two before that rookie takes over.
What do the Vikings need at Quarterback?
This is the 100 million dollar question. Not since the days of Fran Tarkenton, or possibly Tommy Kramer, have the Minnesota Vikings had a quarterback that was solid enough to stand the test of time. Outside of Tarkenton and Kramer the next three quarterbacks that have played the most games for the Vikings are Daunte Culpepper, Wade Wilson, and Brad Johnson. In the 90’s the Vikings used nine different quarterbacks. So the answer to the 100 million dollar question? The Vikings need a quarterback that they can eventually pay 100 million dollars. Someone who can bring stability to a rocky position. Someone who excels to a point where he deserves Peyton Manning or Tom Brady like money.
The Vikings will undoubtedly draft a quarterback this year. Are any of them good enough that fans can see this team spending 100 million on them in the future? Do the Vikings need to take a quarterback with their eighth pick or is there a diamond in the rough that the Vikings could get in the fifth or sixth round? We know what the Vikings need, the new question that fans need to start asking themselves is what quarterback in the draft would be able to answer that 100 million dollar question?
Take a look at how the Top 10 quarterback prospects could fit in in Minnesota. CLICK HERE!